Biblegateway Verse of the Day

The Christian Need to be a Witness to Jews

         Normally, I use a free graphic I find that I feel summarizes what I'm going to say. Today, however, I want to use two verses to prove why authentic Christ-followers need to bless and sanctify Jews. Paul says in Romans, "To provoke them to jealousy." Why? If we are changed by our faith, it is a personal thing. And God, overall is personal, not impersonal as some suggest. If that was the case why did God call out to our forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (aka Israel)? Moses records of Abraham's faith, saying, "Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness" (Genesis 15:6). Was this done before or after Abraham was circumcised?

By Benjamin H. Liles

          If you say, "Before," when we're not explicitly told that then you're taking away from God's word, especially the Torah. If you say, "After," then it is our faith in Him who calls to all as righteousness. Jesus of Nazareth, the One whom our transgressions pierced, was crucified, and risen from the dead, is our righteousness through which our faith lays claim to. In fact, Jesus told Nicodemus, "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life" (John 3:14-15). The rest of this article focuses on both faith and how it pertains to why we need to love one another as well as those of the Jewish faith so they may believe in Yeshua Hamaschiach.

          I want to preface this article with something astounding I've recently learned: you can't always trace your line of descent with surnames. My case to point this out comes from the fact there are two possibilities for my mother's paternal surname, which is a slight derivative from either Crenwelge or Wohlgemuth. One thing I have seen and know for certain is that the folks from the Crenwelge line settled in the town/city of Fredericksburg, TX. On the other hand, and this pertains to the Wohlgemuth lines is that these people left areas in Europe such as Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Germany, Romania or Ukraine. From this line there are many derivatives of the Wohlgemuth surname. But that's not the main focus of this article.

          Many from the Hebrew faith, not counting myself, don't have versions of the Old Testament containing the portions referring to the "Suffering Servant." Why is that? It mainly has to do with the fact that those Yeshua Hamaschiach (Jesus Christ, or Jesus the Messiah) encountered two thousand years ago were incensed with him equating himself with God, the Father.

          John,the disciple Jesus loved, penned, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My FatherJesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.I and My Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" (John 10:1, 7, 17-18 for emphasis, 25-32 condensed for brevity).

          Notice why these educated men sought to kill Jesus: blasphemy. Yet they saw the works Jesus performed. But they committed an error. Their main error was not seeing what the Torah says about the Messiah. For one, I want to post the verse of Abraham's faith in the Lord God: "Take your son,” God said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you" (Genesis 22:2, Berean Study). The direct correlation to this is John 3:16, where Jesus talks to one of the leaders of the Pharisees, Nicodemus, saying, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

         The next reason for hating this Jesus the Messiah stems from the fact he wasn't doing what the Jewish leaders desired of him. They knew who he was. They heard him speak, "astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power" (Luke 4:32, King James). Peter, another disciple of Christ, turned apostle as was John, wrote to the church, "For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2 Peter 1:16, Holman Christian Standard). And that was one thing Jesus said he would do for those who picked up their cross and followed him: "And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But remain in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). John echoes this in his gospel narrative, "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you" (John 14:26).

          But the most convincing argument I can actually give isn't just given in the New Testament, but also the Old Testament, the Writings of the Prophets and of the Torah. Tare are several and these are as follows:

  • You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might - Deuteronomy 6:5
  • Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD - Leviticus 10:18
  • The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God - Leviticus 19:34
  • The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in loving devotion. He will not always accuse us, nor harbor His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins or repaid us according to our iniquities - Psalm 103:8-10
  • If you come with us, we will share with you whatever good things the LORD gives us - Numbers 10:32
  • You must not exploit or oppress a foreign resident, for you yourselves were foreigners in the land of Egypt - Exodus 22:21 
  • How long, O simple ones, will you love your simple ways? How long will scoffers delight in their scorn and fools hate knowledge? If you had repented at my rebuke, then surely I would have poured out my spirit on you; I would have made my words known to you - Proverbs 1:22-23
  • Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “And you, son of man, take a single stick and write on it: ‘Belonging to Judah and to the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick and write on it: ‘Belonging to Joseph—the stick of Ephraim—and to all the house of Israel associated with him.’ Then join them together into one stick, so that they become one in your hand - Ezekiel 37:15-17
  • I will put My Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD - Ezekiel 37:14 
  • Know and understand this: From the issuance of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, until the Messiah, the Prince, there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks, the Messiah will be cut off and will have nothing - Daniel 9:25-26
          From here I can easily also point Jews to Isaiah 53, which the Pharisees took out of their Old Testament canon, as these verses clearly include what God was going to do with His begotten Son, the Messiah: 

           "Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no stately form or majesty to attract us, no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. Like one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush Him and to cause Him to suffer; and when His soul is made a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. Therefore I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He has poured out His life unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors. Yet He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors" (selected portions of Isaiah 53).

          If those who hear and see this message will take the time and be like the Bereans whom one of the writers of Acts says, "Now the Bereans were more noble-minded than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if these teachings were true" (Acts 17:11).

          It's like we're told in the book of Hebrews of the New Testament, "Now faith is the conviction concerning those things that are in hope, as if it were these things in action, and the revelation of those things that are unseen" (Hebrews 11:1, Aramaic in Plain English). And this leads me to conclude within this paragraph: all the writers of the Bible as we have it today for the church of the body of Christ, the actual body are Jewish themselves. Paul, one of the best and greatest converted Pharisees to Christ said this, "I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them" (Romans 11:11, 14, New King James).

          These are simply my final thoughts, not really a conclusion, but I hope and sincerely pray that everybody who reads these articles can truly see my love for all. We're all made in God's image and we ought to give Him all thanks, glory, honor and praise. I know we all sin. In fact, in some way, shape, or form I sin every day. But at the same time I do my best to live my life of faith in Christ Jesus personally with Him. Let me say it this way: recently I've seen dead branches from trees on the side of the road coming to where I live. The point of that is to say that those who do not remain in Christ are dead and without Him in their lives. The big thing with that statement is this: "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14).

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